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WOW056 Westland Lysander Army Co-operation aircraft. Brought into service in
1938, the Lysander was named after the Spartan Admiral who defeated the
Athenians in 405 BC. Designed by Arthur Davenport the Lysander was
specifically designed for artillery spotting, reconnaissance and the
dropping of bombs/supplies when needed. Its low stall speed of 65 MPH meant
it could land on rough unprepared landing strips and had a superb field of
view thanks to its high wing arrangement. Armed with 2 forward firing
machine guns and 2 rear firing Lewis guns, the Lysander could also carry a
500 Lb bomb load when required. With a wingspan of 50ft the Lysander was
quite a large bird for a 2 seater and as such is a surprisingly large model
in 1/30 scale.
Deployed to France in 1940 with the BEF the Lysander suffered very badly at
the hands of the Luftwaffe during daylight operations and was withdrawn from
front line service after the retreat from Dunkirk.
It was after this dark period in British history that the Lysander really
came into its own, as an insertion and extraction aircraft of SOE agents and
also downed RAF personnel from the then occupied France. Able to land on
very short landing strips the Lysander was ideally suited for this role, and
was equipped with a permanent ladder attached to the side to facilitate easy
access and exit, a large fuel tank was also fitted underneath the fuselage
to facilitate a greater range endurance. Despite the many covert operations
carried out by the RAF during WW2 only one Lysander was captured intact by
the Germans after the pilot failed to destroy it. The captured Lysander was
loaded onto a truck, only to be hit by a train, destroying its valuable
cargo before it could be examined by the authorities!
The Lysander was also utilised in the less glamorous but necessary role of
target tug and Air Sea Rescue and served through until 1946 when the last
one was withdrawn from service. The Lysander also saw service with the
Canadian, US, Free French and Israeli air forces during its service career.
Maybe not as glamorous as the Spitfire or Hurricane the Lysander is surely
one of those instantly recognisable aircraft that evokes many memories of
night-time covert operations and as such deserves a place in our Wings of
War collection. As such we only have 5 aircraft available worldwide and our
aircraft are in the markings of 16 Sqn RAF during their service in France
around 1940. This model comes with RAF005 figure,  the other figures are shown for size comparison purposes only.